Freddie Gray case: Protests set for Baltimore and other US cities – CNN
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Baltimore (CNN)A day after the announcement of charges against six Baltimore police officers, the city — and nation — prepared for more protests Saturday over Freddie Gray’s death in police custody.
Protesters planned to march to Baltimore City Hall from the Gilmore Homes housing project, where Gray was arrested, as similar demonstrations were set for various U.S. cities from Boston to Beverly Hills.
The massive rally in Baltimore, organized by the Washington-based Black Lawyers for Justice, comes after a week of demonstrations, some of them marred by incidents of arson and looting.
“It’s sad it had to come to this — burning down places that people are going to need,” said Baltimore resident Aaron Cook, standing outside a CVS drugstore that was looted and burned this week. “Hopefully we get results from this — start treating us like we matter.”
Early Saturday, protesters cleared the streets to observe a curfew. A few demonstrators scuffled with police after 10 p.m. Friday, when the curfew went into effect.
Authorities used a megaphone from a helicopter to warn protesters to go home or get arrested. Police detained 53 people late Friday, including 15 who violated curfew.
By midnight, the streets were deserted as a hush washed over Baltimore’s streets, a far cry from the boisterous honking, weeping and cheers earlier when the city’s top prosecutor announced charges.
Six officers to face charges
Six police officers will face charges in the death of Gray, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said Friday, describing what she believes happened April 12, when Gray was arrested.
The 25-year-old died after suffering “a severe and critical neck injury” while being transported “handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained” inside a police van, she said. It is against police policy to transport a prisoner without proper restraints such as a seat belt.
Police union ‘frustrated’
The police union called for an independent prosecutor, saying Mosby has conflicts of interests. They also criticized her for not waiting until police were done with their inquiry.
“Let me begin by stating how appalled and frustrated we are at this morning’s events. …. We are disappointed in the apparent rush to judgment given the fact that the investigation into this matter has not been concluded,” said Gene Ryan, president of the police union. “Our officers, like every other American, are entitled to due process.”
The Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police said the officers did nothing wrong.
“No officer injured Mr. Gray, caused harm to Mr. Gray, and they are truly saddened by his death,” said Michael Davey, an attorney for the union.
The officers face various charges that could lead to decades in prison.
• Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., 45, faces one count of second-degree depraved-heart murder, involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, manslaughter by vehicle (gross negligence), manslaughter by vehicle (criminal negligence) and misconduct in office.
• Lt. Brian W. Rice, 41, faces one count of involuntary manslaughter, two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office and one count of false imprisonment.
• Sgt. Alicia D. White, 30, faces one count of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.
• Officer William G. Porter, 25, faces one count of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.
• Officer Garrett E. Miller, 26, faces two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office and one count of false imprisonment.
• Officer Edward M. Nero, 29, faces two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office and one count of false imprisonment.
Second-degree depraved-heart murder is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
Gray’s relatives said they are satisfied with the charges announced.
“These charges are an important step in getting justice for Freddie,” said his stepfather, Richard Shipley.
Out on bail
Court records show the officers have paid bail, which for Goodson, White, Porter and Rice had been set at $350,000 each; for Nero and Miller it was $250,000 apiece.
The six have a preliminary hearing on May 27.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake called for the immediate suspension of all the officers facing charges.
Police officers arrested Gray on April 12. He slipped into a coma after suffering a series of injuries and died a week later.
Mosby said the incident began when two police officers on bike patrol “made eye contact” with Gray, who then ran.
When officers caught up to him, he surrendered and was placed on the ground, arms handcuffed behind his back. He said he couldn’t breathe and asked for an inhaler, but he did not get it, according to Mosby.
Although police found a knife in Gray’s pants, it was a variety allowed by Maryland law, and police had no reason to detain him, the prosecutor said.
Still, they called for a police transport van and loaded Gray, in handcuffs, into the van. They did not put a seat belt on him, Mosby said.
Goodson stopped the vehicle four times over the course of the approximately 40-minute ride to the police station. At the first stop, officers took Gray out, put shackles on his ankles and placed him — still handcuffed — headfirst and on his stomach in the back.
At the last stop, Goodson picked up another man who was put in the back of the van on the other side of the partition that keeps prisoners separated.
Mosby said the officers were “grossly negligent” for failing to get Gray medical help, despite his requests, until arrival at the Western District Police Station.
By then, he was no longer breathing, she said.
Gray was rushed to a hospital, where he underwent surgery.
He died a week later.